Our Story

Anna-Laura Kroesen

Anna-Laura was born on June 6th, 1985 in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Ada, her mother, grew up in the Netherlands, and Anna-Laura's Father, Fritz, was an army brat who lived in many places growing up. She has a brother, Christiaan, who goes to William and Mary, and a sister, Saskia, who is 13 and naturally still lives at home.

Anna-Laura went to elementary school in Front Royal, VA. She lived a year in the Netherlands with her mom, brother, sister, and oma, but then they went back to Front Royal for a couple more years. At the end of her 8th grade year, she and her family moved to Heidelberg, Germany. Her family lived there until this year, when they moved to Belgium. Anna-Laura loved growing up there; she started swimming on the swim team, she joined the BSA Venture Crew 26, and also joined Search youth group. When deciding what colleges to apply for, she chose Virginia colleges, since that's the area she knew best. So, in the summer of 2003, she left Heidelberg and returned to Virginia to start her life as a VT college student. Anna-Laura has loved being an English and German major here, and has also really loved being a part of Intervarsity.

Ryan Edward Silva

Ryan was born on December 6, 1983 in Yonkers, New York. His dad, Marcos, was born in São Paulo and came to New York at the age of 11. His mom, Nancie, grew up in Yonkers. He has two sisters—Bethany, 21 and a junior at Liberty University, and Lindsey, 17 and a senior in high school. In 1988, the Silva family moved to Richmond, Virginia and later to a house in Midlothian where they have lived ever since.

While living in Midlothian, Ryan was involved in his Church (Richmond Grace Brethren), played recreational soccer, and joined the Boy Scouts. He became an Eagle Scout in 2001 before graduating from Midlothian High School in 2002 and going to college at Virginia Tech. Ryan has since graduated with a double-major in computer science and math, and is currently working on his master's degree in computer science. He has accepted a job with IBM in Westford, Massachusetts, and is really hoping he finishes his thesis on time to start work this June!

How We Met

Ryan was already a sophomore when Anna-Laura started her first year at VT. He was already involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a group that Anna-Laura was trying out. They gradually became friends through activities like hiking and playing frisbee. Finally they went on a date on November 2nd, 2003. Through some advice from friends, they decided to get to know eachother a little better before officially dating. So they waited until January 17th, and then they just couldn't wait anymore!

The Proposal—Anna-Laura's Perspective

Knowing that I would be graduating in Dec '06, I had been deliberating over the summer what I wanted to do next after my years as a student were over. At the time, I had been thinking about looking into library science, as well as becoming a teacher. I had looked into volunteering at a couple libraries, but had gotten no response. Then one day, out of the blue, I get this email from a "Virginia Library Staffing Services" company, telling me that they had heard about me through one of my English professors, and were interested in me. I was delighted. Getting to know my professors more personally suddenly had landed me an interview! Even better, the email said that I did not need to accept a job if I were offered one now, but that by going to the interview, I would at least be in their records for the future.

Naturally, I responded and said I would be delighted, and received an email back, asking if Thursday at 5 PM would be alright. While I thought the time was rather late, I went along with it.

Something I found surprising while I waited for the interview date, was that they weren't on the web. I searched for them in Google, and absolutely nothing came up. Finding it strange, I mentioned it to Ryan, who responded by saying that they were a small company, after all, and so maybe they didn't need a website. At the time, I simply accepted Ryan's answer and thought nothing more of it.

Thursday finally came around, and after working at Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea all morning, I got ready for my interview. I had asked Ryan what I should wear to the interview, and he said to wear something nice. So I put a new skirt on, and left for Roanoke.

Ryan had told me that we would meet up after the interview, but hadn't told me when or how, so I guessed that he was just going to stay late at work. So even though he had gotten a room reserved in another building in downtown Roanoke, I decided to park beside his building and walk.

I got to the floor, and saw a room with a big sign that said "VLSS Interview Room," and walked through the door. To my surprise (and brief disappointment :P), no one was there! Instead, there was a bunch of roses, a present, and a note telling me that there was no interview, but if I could please follow these directions, everything would be made clear. Also, don't open the present.

Grinning and blushing from ear to ear, I hurriedly walked back to my car, feeling like I was in a spotlight carrying a bunch of roses and a present and that surely everyone would be thinking that I looked out of place.

The directions pointed me to Roanoke Mountain. The drive there felt like a long one, and during that time, I wondered whether Ryan was going to propose. But I didn't want to think that that was the reason; after all, Ryan likes to surprise me, and maybe there was another reason for all of this.

When I finally arrived at the top of the mountain, Ryan was there with a picnic all laid out for me. He told me it was a very special day, and did I know what day it was? I shook my head no, and he told me that it was the 1000th day since our first date. I thought to myself, oh of course, and decided that he wasn't going to propose.

Ryan then suggested I open the present, which turned out to be a huge book for Windows NT in 1996. Knowing that there was something I was supposed to figure out, I looked quizzically at Ryan, and opened the book. Inside, there was a hole cut out that held a little box, and suddenly Ryan was asking me to be his wife!

Of course I said yes! :)

The Proposal—Ryan's Perspective

During the summer of 2006 I was interning in downtown Roanoke. I wanted to completely surprise her, so I talked to my human-resources manager who had a connection with a company in a nearby building. This company had a new conference room apart from their main office which I could use. So I e-mailed Anna-Laura under a fake name, asking to interview her for a job. Of course, when she showed up for the interview, there was nobody there! Just 12 roses, a present, and a note. The note told her there wouldn't be an interview, but that she should take the present and the flowers up to Roanoke Mountain. I was waiting on top of the mountain with a picnic when she arrived. It was a very special day: 1,000 days after our first date on November 2nd, 2003! She opened the present to find a big Windows NT book from 1996. But when she opened the book, there was a box inside... you know the rest!